There are a number of quizzes and lists that can help you determine whether you have a drinking problem. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, for instance, provides a 26-question quiz to answer that question; Alcoholics Anonymous offers its famous “Twelve Questions;” and even Dr. Phil has 20 questions that probe for the answer about whether you are abusing alcohol. Generally speaking, most experts say that if any area of your life is adversely affected by the use of alcohol, and you are unable to stop using it regardless of how hard you try, you could have a drinking problem.
How to Determine Whether You Have a Drinking Problem
If alcohol is having a negative impact on these three areas of your life, and you can’t stop drinking, the answer to the question “Do I have a drinking problem?” may be “Yes:”
- Health:Certain health indicators could point to alcoholism, such as elevated liver enzymes, black-outs (when you are not aware of your behavior even though you are conscious), or excessive weight gain. It’s really time to pay attention when your doctor or psychiatrist tells you that drinking may be the culprit.
- Career or job: If you’re losing days from work due to bouts of drinking or hang-overs, you could have a drinking problem, especially if your supervisor or co-workers have suggested that you stop or curtail your drinking. If you’re losing your edge (memory loss, lack of follow-through, poor attitude) in a way that hinders work performance, and you’re a heavy drinker, it could be that you are addicted to alcohol.
- Finances:If you are ignoring your bills and other financial obligations due to your focus on drinking, and attempts to quit drinking fail, you are probably looking at alcohol abuse. Some abusers spend more than they have for alcohol when it comes to entertaining, buying drinks for others, or simply purchasing large quantities for their own personal use.
Examining these areas of your life can bring clarity to whether you have a drinking problem, but consulting with a physician or other health care professionals who are knowledgeable about addiction is the best way to determine whether you are dealing with the disease of alcoholism.